Thought leadership

 UK retailers are failing to embrace new technologies that can improve customer experience and increase sales, resulting in a potential £12 billion of missed revenues, according to research from O2.

A survey of 2,027 consumers by retail analysts Conlumino showed that while many companies are investing in delivering a multi-channel sales model, consumers are often unimpressed by the connection between digital and traditional in-store retail experience. A poor experience can esilly lead to potential customers taking their business elesewhere, the report warned.

As a result of a lack of digital engagement, the report claims that retailers in UK lost out on sales to the value of £12 billion during 2012, based on analysis of retail data and consumer behaviour as part of the survey.

So, while 46 percent of retail firms believe they have got the mix right between traditional and digital sales, three quarters of consumers believed that there was inadequate use of digital platforms such as mobile apps and social media.

The research showed that consumers are increasingly expecting to use technology to make browsing or purchasing easier. 56 percent said that digital interactions are more convenient, while only 15 percent would never consider use digital technology to interact with retailers.

However the survey showed that many retailers do not understand or have not successfully adapted to the change in consumer behaviour. Only 40 percent of retailers recognised that digital engagement could actually help them increase sales.

Furthermore, despite the popularity of social media among consumers, only 31 percent use social media tools to engage with and understand their customer base.

Caroline Gorski, Managing Partner of O2’s Retail & Leisure Practice said that retailers should be more proactive in implementing new technologies to meet consumer demands.

"Digital technology offers retailers new opportunities when it comes to understanding more about consumers and engaging with them in new ways – but as this study reveals, not enough is currently being done to harness the benefits it can bring,” said Gorski.

“It is critical for retailers to engage digitally with consumers within and beyond the store to secure a place on the high street of the future.

“This can include exciting in-store experiences that extend into the digital world, contextual and location-aware promotional campaigns to reward loyalty and attract new customers, and a consistent shopping experience across all channels, boosting customer satisfaction and retailers’ bottom line.”



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